Exploring the History of New Jersey and Beyond!

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 3/1/14 - 3/2/14

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Saturday, March 1 - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Farm Chores
Children Friendly

Looking for a fun way to start your day? Come help the staff at Historic Longstreet Farm with their morning chores at the farm on Saturday from 8:00 - 9:00 am. You and your child (age 4 and up) can milk a cow, collect eggs, and feed the animals. The cost is $15 per parent/child pair, $5 per additional person (cash or check only). Be sure to dress warmly! Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit  www.monmouthcountyparks.com.

Saturday, March 1 - Princeton, Mercer County
The Basics of Healthy Eating
Children Friendly

In honor of National Nutrition Month, the Historical Society of Princeton is partnering with Whole Earth Center to present a special family program, "The Basics of Healthy Eating for You and Your Family." Bill Moran, Whole Earth's customer service manager and former owner of the Tempting Tiger, a natural food deli, will give a presentation and Q&A on Saturday at 12:15 pm. Participants will learn tips for planning a healthy diet that the whole family will enjoy. Children are invited to sit in on the program or participate in fun activities centered around the theme of healthy eating, including word games and a craft decorating their own Food Plate.

In addition to the program, Whole Earth is offering a special coupon offer for customers who attend the program: $5 off a $25 purchase for OnePrinceton cardholders and $2.50 off $25 for those without a OnePrinceton card. OnePrinceton links directly to your checking or savings account and works just like a debit card to pay at participating local businesses using your smartphone or a card. When you pay with OnePrinceton, 1% of every transaction goes to the local non-profit organization of your choice. For more information, visit www.oneprinceton.com and select Historical Society of Princeton as your designated non-profit!

Following the program, families are invited to work together on an indoor/outdoor scavenger hunt that promotes physical activity. The Historical Society of Princeton is an official Let's Move Museum, part of First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation and to "raise a healthier generation of kids." Visitors are also encouraged to bring a nutritious canned good or boxed cereal; the collection will be donated to HomeFront.

Updike Farmstead is open the first Saturday each month, from 12:00 - 4:00 pm. Currently on view in the Farmhouse galleries are Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Ten Crucial Days Portfolio, recent artwork from the A-Team Artists of Trenton and photographs by the members of the Princeton Photography Club. Admission is $4, which includes all special activities. The Updike Farmstead is located at 354 Quaker Road, Princeton Township, NJ. For more information, call 609-921-6748 or visit www.princetonhistory.org.

Saturday, March 1 - Little Egg Harbor, Ocean County
Battle of Red Bank

On Saturday, the Tuckerton Historical Society presents "Red Bank Battlefield" presented by the Rev. Norman Goos, President of the NJ SAR. Hear about this Revolutionary War battle. This presentation will be held from 2:00 - 4:00 pm at the Giffordtown Schoolhouse Museum, 35 Leitz Blvd., Little Egg Harbor, NJ. For more information, call 609-294-1547.

Saturday, March 1 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Maple Sugaring
Children Friendly

Sugaring time arrives in late winter at Howell Farm and the public joins in the fun of making and tasting homemade maple syrup (and pancakes!).

The trees are tapped beginning in early February. School groups, visitors and farm staff collect and boil down sap for several weeks.

Sap gathering will take place at 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm. Tree tapping demonstrations will be held at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.

Howell Living Farm represents typical farm life between 1890 and 1910. The farm is operated by the Mercer County Parks Commission. It is located at 70 Wooden's Lane, Lambertville, NJ. For more information. call 609-737-3299 or visit www.howellfarm.org.

Sunday, March 2 - Montclair, Essex County
Historic House Tours
Children Friendly

Step back through 200 years of American history at the Montclair Historical Society's historic properties on Sunday. Visit the 1796 Israel Crane House and the Nathaniel Crane House as guided tours reveal the history of the house in relationship to its inhabitants and the history of Montclair. Food historian Carolina Capehart will be demonstrating hearth cooking in the exterior kitchen. The sites are open from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Admission is $8 per adult and $5 per child for both properties with same day admission. Or come as a family (1 or 2 adults with up to 3 children) for $25. Free admission for members!

The sites are located at 108 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ. For more information, call 973-744-1796, e-mail mail@montclairhistorical.org or visit www.montclairhistorical.org.

Sunday, March 2 - Morristown, Morris County
Restoring the Wick House
Children Friendly

Did you know people lived in the Wick House until 1933? Thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps, the house has been transformed to an original appearance. Join a Park Ranger at the Wick House to discover the ways in which the C.C.C. restored the Wick House and farm. Programs at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm at the Wick House in Jockey Hollow, within Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, NJ. Cost: Free. For more information, call 973-543-4030 or visit http://www.nps.gov/morr.

Sunday, March 2 - Eatontown, Monmouth County
First Ladies According to Martha Washington

Maggie Worsdale has captured a lively and inquisitive first First Lady who draws the audience into her personal experience during the Revolutionary War and her husband's presidency, and then into a fun jaunt thru the history with stories and songs of our First Ladies up to the present.

This program will begin at 2:00 pm at the Eatontown Community Center, followed by a Museum Tea. Sponsored by the  Eatontown Museum and the Eatontown Library. The Community Center is located at 58 Broad Street, Eatontown, NJ. The Eatontown Historical Museum is located across street from Community Center at 75 Broad Street, Eatontown, NJ. For more information, e-mail EatontownHistorian@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 2 - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Turn of the Nineteenth Century Music
Children Friendly

On Sunday, visit Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel to take a step back in time to join music man Rich Marzec as he performs songs from the turn of the century on the farm. This free event runs from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit  www.monmouthcountyparks.com.

Sunday, March 2 - Morristown, Morris County
The Antoine Le Blanc Case

The exhibit "Controversies: The More Things Change..." at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum presents challenging subject matter that inspires people to consider, or reconsider, the ways in which they think about important and frequently debated issues: medical experimentation, immigration, and the right to die. This spring, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is presenting a speaker series in conjunction with the exhibit, taking place on the first Sunday of each month through June. The exhibit explores local history events which had national significance: the Antoine LeBlanc murder trial and public execution; the immigration issues of the late nineteenth century as depicted by political cartoonist Thomas Nast, a Morristown resident, and the 1976 Karen Ann Quinlan "right to die" case.

On Sunday, Judge Kenneth C. MacKenzie will begin the "Controversies" exhibit speaker series with a presentation on the capital punishment case featured in the exhibit. In April 1833, Antoine LeBlanc was found guilty of perhaps the most infamous crime of the 19th century, a gruesome triple murder in the home of his employer in Morristown. He ransacked the Sayre household, dressed himself in Mr. Sayre's clothing, stole a horse and rode away with the Sayres' valuable personal possessions.  He quickly was caught and held in the Morris County Jail until his trial. After an eight day trial and brief jury deliberation, he was convicted and sentenced to death. He was hanged in front of crowd of more than 10,000 - the last public execution in Morris County. What happened to his corpse is appalling. Judge MacKenzie will discuss this gruesome case and consider how many of the issues which arose in 1833 are pertinent today including capital punishment, public execution, pre-trial publicity, use of circumstantial evidence to convict, the speedy trial, and disposition of the body.

Following the presentation visitors can view the exhibit, including Le Blanc's death mask, and consider the issues raised. Where most exhibits typically provide detailed information about the objects on view, "Controversies" offers limited information about the objects, essentially forcing personal thought, and inspiring discussion, about the areas represented. Curator's books of information drawn from primary sources within the exhibit include news articles, contemporary commentary, and images. Visitors are encouraged to interact and leave comments about the themes presented. "Controversies" is on view during Museum touring hours through June 2014. Please note the subject matter may not be suitable for all audiences. Visitor discretion advised. 

Tickets for Sunday programs go on sale beginning at 1:00 pm on the day of the program (no advance sales) and remain on sale until the presentation begins at 4:30pm. The upstairs gallery exhibits "Thomas Nast Brings Down Boss Tweed," and "Made in New Jersey: A Celebration of Decorative and Fine Arts"will remain open until 4:30 pm, with the "Controversies" exhibit closing at 3:30 pm in preparation for the program. Tickets to hear speakers are Adults $8; Seniors & Students $6; Children 6 - 12 $4. Members and children under 5 admitted free. Speaker tickets include admission to a docent-led period room tour for visitors who sign up during the afternoon. The last tour ticket is sold at 3:00 p.m.

The museum is open for house and exhibit tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The last tour ticket is sold at 3:00 pm. Adults $8; Seniors & Students $6; Children 6 - 12 $4. Members and children under 5 are free. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is located at 45 Macculloch Avenue, Morristown, NJ. For more information, call 973-538-2404 ext. 10 or visit www.maccullochhall.org.

Sunday, March 2 - Westampton, Burlington County
Clara Barton at Peachfield
Children Friendly

Please join Peachfield as they continue their series "Traveling Through History on the Turnipike," the theme for their 2013-2014 speaker's series. This month, Clara Barton, played by Pat Jordon, visits Peachfield. The presentation, held from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, includes time for questions and answers and is followed by light refreshments.

Clara Barton was a strong-willed, intelligent woman. She was born Clarissa Harlowe Barton and was the youngest of five children. As a young girl, she nursed wounded birds and cats, as well as other injured pets. Clara started the public school in Bordentown, New Jersey; however, when the school hired a man as the principal, Clara quit and never returned to teaching. Clara signed up to support the Union efforts during the Civil War, often going to the front line, which most nurses did not do. She often wrote newspaper pleas asking for blankets, money and/or food. She kept records of the people who died. She created a pamphlet in the New York Times with 11,000 names, identifying missing soldiers. She was the founder and first president of the America Red Cross. She was dedicated to the end, teaching first-aid courses in Maryland, where she retired. 

Pat Jordon is an accomplished actor, operatic singer and historian known for her beautiful voice, and the dramatic intensity of her performance. She has appeared at venues that include the White House Visitors Center, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, National Constitution Center, and Mount Vernon. 

Admission: $5 per person; members of Friends of Peachfield admitted free. Peachfield is located at 180 Burrs Road, Westampton, NJ.  For more information, call 609-267-6996 or visit www.colonialdamesnj.org.

Sunday, March 2 - Jefferson Township, Morris County
Open House

The Jefferson Township Museum, also known as the George Chamberlin House, will have an  open house on Sunday  from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Costumed docents will give tours of the museum. This month's exhibit will be "Little House in the Valley," a theme that will run throughout the year as a homage to literature of the period and in celebration of New Jersey's 350 anniversary. Admission is free.

The Jefferson Township Museum is located at 315 Dover-Milton Road, Jefferson Township, NJ. Visit Miss Elizabeth's Shoppe located in the original kitchen of the museum, where small antiques, collectibles, handmade, handcrafted and seasonal items will be offered for sale. For further information, call 973-208-8601 or visit www.jthistoricalsociety.org.

Sundays through March 9, 2014 - Plainfield, Union County
Indira Bailey Art Exhibit

On Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, visit the Historical Society of Plainfield at the Drake House Museum to view the "Indira Bailey Art Exhibit" in celebration of Black History Month.

Indira Bailey is a second-generation Plainfielder and is an extraordinary artist, illustrator, and educator. Indira received a B.F.A. in illustration from Pratt Institute and M.A. in Educational Leadership & Supervision from Kean University. Ms. Bailey's work demonstrates her pride, talent, and her interest in showing her experience as an African American woman and her travels in a positive light. Ms. Bailey has exhibited artwork throughout the tri-state area.

"Indira Bailey Art Exhibit" will be on display in the second floor ballroom of the Drake House Museum, and the exhibit will be on display until March 9, 2014. Donations are always appreciated. All are welcome during regular tour hours, 2:00 - 4:00 pm on Sundays, or by appointment.

The Drake House Museum is located at 602 West Front Street, Plainfield, NJ. For more information call 908-755-5831 or visit www.drakehouseplainfieldnj.org.

Through March 23, 2014 - Princeton, Mercer County
The Age of Sail: A New Jersey Collection

Morven Museum & Garden is proud to present the first public appearance of this unmatched collection of New Jersey maritime artifacts and art assembled by New Jersey collector Richard Updike. This exhibit, featuring over 100 objects, explores the history of American shipbuilding, sail-making, naval warfare, shipwrecks, and rescue. This exhibition also reveals the daily life of American sailors with a never-before-seen collection of American sea chests. Views of New Jersey maritime history will also be displayed including engravings and paintings by George Essig, Frederick Schiller Cozzens, and Gerard Rutgers Hardenberg.

Morven Museum & Garden is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. The museum is open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. Tours are given on the hour. Final tour is at 2:00 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, the museum is open from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm. Final tour is at 3:00 pm. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit www.morven.org.

Through Sunday, April 6, 2014 - Cranbury, Middlesex County
The Shimer Cookie Jar Exhibit

The Shimer Cookie Jar Exhibit at the Cranbury Museum features an extensive assortment of whimsical and delightful cookie jars assembled by long-time Cranbury resident and artist, Wilma Shimer. It also includes vintage kitchen accessories such as tablecloths, aprons, cookie cutters, rolling pins, cookbooks and recipes. One special item on display is the "Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls" which was published in 1957 and featured a test panel of twelve Cranbury boys and girls.  The exhibit will be on display through April 6, 2014.

The Cranbury Museum is located within a lovely 1800s house that is furnished with period antiques. The museum is open Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm and located at 4 Park Place East, Cranbury, NJ. For more information, call 609-655-2611 or visit www.cranburyhistory.org.

Through Sunday, April 13 - Cape May, Cape May County
African American Heritage Exhibit

This 15th annual Center for Community Arts (CCA) exhibit - "The Way We Were...Cape May County's Once Thriving Black Business Communities" will highlight African Americans' contributions to the local community. The exhibit will be on display at the Carriage House Gallery on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Admission is free. Exhibit will be on display through Sunday, April 13. Open Saturdays in January, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm. Sponsored by the Center for Community Arts (CCA) in association with the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For information, call 609-884-7525 or visit www.centerforcommunityarts.org. For gallery hours call 609-884-5404 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

Through June 30, 2014 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
Got Work? Exhibit

View the exhibit "Got Work? New Deal/WPA in New Jersey" at the 1741 Cornelius Low House Museum in Piscataway. The museum is open Tuesday - Friday, 8:30 - 4:00 pm and Sunday afternoons from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The exhibit will run through June 30, 2014.

The Cornelius Low House, built in 1741, was the home to its namesake and is only one of two remaining buildings from historic Raritan Landing. This high-style Georgian mansion is listed on the National Register and operated by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Admission to the museum is FREE. The museum is located at 1225 River Road, Piscataway, NJ. For more information, call 732-745-4177 or visit http://www.co.middlesex.nj.us/culturalheritage.

Through June 2014 - Morristown, Morris County
"Controversies: The More Things Change..." Exhibit

Currently on display at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is an exhibition about topics that helped shape our world. "Controversies: The More Things Change..." opens new territory for the Museum, presenting challenging subject matter that may not be suitable for casual dinner conversation. This new exhibit explores topics that helped shape our world through local history events which had national significance: medical experimentation, immigration, and the right to die.

"Controversies: The More Things Change..." inspires people to consider, even reconsider, the ways in which they think about these important, frequently debated issues. The exhibit explores local history events which had national significance: the 1833 Antoine LeBlanc murder trial and public execution; the immigration issues of the late nineteenth century as depicted by political cartoonist Thomas Nast, a Morristown resident, and the 1976 Karen Ann Quinlan "right to die" case.

The museum is making a major departure in exhibit presentations with "Controversies."  Where most exhibits typically provide detailed information about the objects on view, "Controversies" offers limited information about the objects, essentially forcing personal thought, and inspiring discussion, about the areas represented.  Each object and concept in the exhibit represents a part of New Jersey's history - specifically Morris County's history. The ideas expressed through the historical objects in the exhibit, however, are not confined to New Jersey boundaries- the significant concerns raised by the important and controversial issues showcased in this exhibit continue to be debated throughout the United States and the world.

"We wanted to give our visitors a chance to participate in an exhibit in a new way - to have a reaction without being guided by the institution's interpretation of what the objects represent, which labels typically provide," said Executive Director Carrie Fellows. Instead, curator's books of supplementary information will be available within the exhibit, should the visitor want to learn more, drawn from primary sources like news articles, contemporary commentary, and images. Visitors are encouraged to leave comments about the themes presented.

The exhibition was inspired when Fellows and Ryan C. Hyman, the Museum's curator, heard Burt Logan, Executive Director of the Ohio Historical Society speak at a conference about the organization's groundbreaking "Controversy: Pieces You Don't Normally See" exhibit, and its sequel, "Controversy 2: Pieces We Don't Normally Talk About". During his talk, Mr. Logan strongly encouraged other museums to adapt the concept and develop similar exhibits. Inspired by the presentation, Hyman and Fellows began discussing how they might create an exhibit using themes from the Morris area's rich history.

"Controversies: The More Things Change..." will be on view during Museum touring hours through June 2014. Please note the subject matter may not be suitable for all audiences. Visitor discretion advised. Recommended for visitors 12 years of age and older.

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves the history of the Macculloch-Miller families, the Morris area community, and the legacy of its founder W. Parsons Todd through its historic site, collections, exhibits, and educational and cultural programs. The Museum is open for house and exhibit tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The last tour leaves at 3:00 pm. Adults $8; Seniors & Students $6; Children 6 - 12 $4. Members and children under 5 are free.  For more information, call 973-538-2404 ext. 10 or visit www.maccullochhall.org. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is located at 45 Macculloch Avenue, Morristown, NJ.

Saturdays and Sundays through July 27, 2014 - Ridgewood, Bergen County
A Community's Journey: Our Place in New Jersey History

The Schoolhouse Museum's new exhibit, on display now through July 27, 2014 celebrates New Jersey's 350th anniversary. "A Community's Journey: Our Place in New Jersey's History" showcases the area's evolution over the last three centuries using the themes of liberty, innovation, and diversity.

The Liberty collection highlights uniforms and other war-time memorabilia while the Innovation collection chronicles the history of performing arts in the village including items from the Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, such as a silk wedding kimono worn by Yum Yum in the "Mikado." Also on display are items owned by Ridgewood magician Harry Rouclere. Especially noteworthy is the Diversity collection which tells the story of the African American, Jewish, Irish, and  Korean communities through personal artifacts.

The museum is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 1:00 - 3:00 and Sundays 2:00 - 4:00. The Schoolhouse Museum is located at 650 East Glen  Avenue in Ridgewood, NJ. For more information, call  201-447-3242  or visit www.ridgewoodhistoricalsociety.org.

Through August, 2014 - Lyndhurst, Bergen County
Let's Play! An Exhibit of Beloved Toys
Children Friendly

From a china-head doll to a Lionel train, several toys are on display at the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum as the Lyndhurst Historical Society recalls fun times with favorite toys. The new exhibit, "Let's Play! An Exhibit of Beloved Toys," is open now through August 2014.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, though a small donation to the Society would be appreciated. The Little Red Schoolhouse Museum is open on the second and fourth Sundays of  every month from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. The Lyndhurst Historical Society was established in 1984 in an effort to preserve the 1893 schoolhouse, located at 400 Riverside Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ. For more information, call 201-804-2513 (leave a message) or visit www.lyndhursthistoricalsociety.org.

Through February 13, 2015 - Madison, Morris County
The American Revolution in New Jersey
Children Friendly

New Jersey spent much of the American Revolution as a theater of war. A new exhibit at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, "The American Revolution in New Jersey: Where the Battlefront Meets the Homefront," explores the rarely told story of New Jersey's farmers, women, and tradesmen and their actions during the war. Topics discussed include the local civil wars that erupted between revolutionaries and loyalists, the multiple roles that women took on as their men went off to war, and how civilian life was affected by the regular presence of troops. The exhibit will be open until February 13, 2015. 

Regular Museum admission is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors, students & children (ages 6 and older), and free for members and children under 6. Family maximum admission $13.00. The Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm. The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is located at 9 Main Street in Madison, NJ just two blocks from the Madison train station. For information, please call 973-377-2982 x10 or visit www.metc.org.

Some event listings courtesy of the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 2/28/14 - 3/2/14

Click on each link for more information on the estate sale!
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Frank Sinatra Collectibles
Belleville, NJ 07109

Vintage Goodies
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Depression Glass, Trains, Books, & More
Orange, NJ 07050

Vintage Games & Toys
Hawthorne, NJ 07506

Vintage Dolls, Jewelry, Furniture
Chatham, NJ 07928

Packed Full of Collectibles
Cranford, NJ 07016

Looking for estate sales in your neighborhood? Visit www.estatesales.org
Proud sponsor of the Weekend Estate Sale listings.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time has Taken its Toll at Monmouth Battlefield's Craig House

Time has Taken its Toll at Monmouth Battlefield's Craig House
Written by NJ Historian

Situated in the middle of farm fields, within earshot of bustling Route 9, is a colonial-era home, settled well before the American Revolution. This property, now known as the Craig House, witnessed first-hand the struggle for independence, as it played host to the Battle of Monmouth, the longest sustained battle of the American Revolution. Once in danger of musket fire, cannons, and fire, the home faces a totally different set of risks associated with being a historic site within Monmouth Battlefield State Park today - a lack of funding, deferred maintenance, and dwindling attendance.

The Craig family settled in New Jersey from Scotland in 1685. The family, consisting of John Craig Sr.,  his wife Ursula, and their children James and Archibald, lived in Perth Amboy for ten years. On June 11, 1690, John acquired a 150 acre tract in what is today known as Freehold. He built a home about 1710 and moved to the farm with his family. In 1720, John's son Archibald purchased a piece of property on the eastern border of present-day Monmouth Battlefield State Park and built a home. In 1744 the property passed from Archibald to his son Samuel, who constructed a one-and-a-half story Dutch frame home in 1746. Samuel died later that year and ownership reverted back to his father, Archibald. When Archibald died just a few year later on March 6,1751, his will left the property to Samuel's son John Jr. At that time, John Jr. was only fourteen years old and unable to own the property. The farm was rented to tenants until John Jr. reached the age of twenty-one in 1758. Once John Jr. took ownership, he built a three-bay, two-story, side-hall plan Georgian-style addition on the western end of the house about 1770. His 200 acre property also contained a barn, corncrib, smoke house, and hay barrack.

Just eight years after the addition, on  June 28, 1778, the British, numbering about 10,000 men, clashed with the American forces, consisting of approximately 14,000 soldiers, on his property and at nearby Monmouth Court House. The American Army, under the tutelage of Prussian drillmaster "Baron" Frederick von Steuben the previous winter at Valley Forge, was prepared as a well-trained army, capable of demonstrating their abilities on the battlefield.

"Battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778." Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.
Realizing that the home would be an epicenter during the battle, John Craig's wife, Ann, who was alone at home with their three children, decided to abandon the property and head toward Upper Freehold. At this time, John Craig was away from the home serving in the Revolutionary War with the local militia. Legend holds that Ann hid the family silver by dropping it in the bottom of the well on their property. It is said that British soldiers drank from the well until it was nearly dry and discovered the silver, which they took with them. With the house vacant, the British used it as a makeshift field hospital during the battle.

The day of the battle was extremely hot, with temperatures reaching one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The majority of the battle occurred between Old Tennent Church and the Monmouth Courthouse in Freehold. General Charles Lee was the commander of the striking force; his soldiers were unable to stand on their own after an attack by the Monmouth Courthouse. Washington was angered by Lee's lack of management and took charge as commander of the battle. The battle raged on all day in the swamps, forests, and fields in the heat. It would be the longest sustained battle of the Revolutionary War. Of the 30,000 engaged troops, about 501 died. Half of the deaths were attributed to heat stroke. That night the fighting ended and Washington was planning his strategy for the following morning. However, during the night, the British managed to escape.

After the battle, the Craig family returned to their home and John, Jr. lived there until his death in 1824. The property was divided among his children; his son Jonathon received one-half and his daughters, Amelia and Mary, each received one quarter share. Mary died in 1839 and her share, along with Jonathon's was deed to Amelia. Ameilia passed in 1855 and her daughter Anna Maria took possession of the property. It remained in her name until her death in 1898. It then passed to her husband, Enoch, who in turn passed it onto his son Samuel Craig Cowart in 1908. Samuel lived in Freehold and rented out the house to tenant farmers. A year after his death, in 1943, the property was sold to Ernest Tark. Tark used the space to house migrant workers.

The State of New Jersey acquired the Craig House in 1965. Unfortunately, it was badly deteriorated and heavily damaged during its time as a home for migrant workers. Portions of original wood paneling and trim had been ripped out and burned to heat the home. In 1990, one of the first tasks of the newly-formed Friends of Monmouth Battlefield was to restore the house and reopen it to the public. In 1993, the restored home reopened as a furnished house museum, relating the story of the Craig family while they lived there during the American Revolution.

Time and the elements have not been kind to the Craig House.
Since its opening, the house was closed for a number of years due to staff and budget shortages, and has recently reopened thanks to a staff of volunteer docents from the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield. Time and the elements have not been kind to the house. A broken window on the second floor, now boarded up, prevents visitors from visiting the second story. Outside, the paint has deteriorated and is peeling on almost all sides, there are numerous broken or missing shutters, and the window sills are rotting due to a lack of general upkeep. What should be a gem for the State Park is in serious need of stabilization. Due to its sporadic openings, its remote location from the main section of the park, and lack of public programming and publicity, the home does not see a high number of visitors. Hopefully the State of New Jersey will recognize and value this eighteenth century home and its significance as a field hospital during the American Revolution. A new visitor center opened in 2013 but no money was spent on stabilizing the Craig House or any of the other dilapidated farmhouses on the State Park property. If a preventative maintenance plan is put in place, along with the necessary exterior improvements, the Craig House will remain an integral part of Monmouth Battlefield State Park for generations.

Additional photos of my trip to the Craig House on Pinterest

For More Information
NJ Parks and Forests: Monmouth Battlefield State Park
Friends of Monmouth Battlefield

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Organization of the Week: Friends of Monmouth Battlefield

Every Monday, I highlight a non-profit related to history or the arts, a historical society, preservation group or friends group whose main objective is to promote the historical and artistic history of New Jersey.

This week, I am featuring the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield. Founded in 1990, the organization is dedicated to protecting, preserving and interpreting the military and social history of the Monmouth Campaign of 1778 and the cultural landscapes of both the battlefield and associated sites within a broader geographic area beyond the Park. Individuals concerned with the deteriorating conditions of the State Park, which opened in 1978, formed the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield. At that time, landscapes were being overwhelmed by vegetative growth obscuring historic vistas. Historic sites and buildings were on the verge of collapse. Beginning in 1990, as a way of bringing attention to the threatened national historic landmark, the Friends initiated the annual Battle of Monmouth reenactment. This historic event is observed in June each year. In addition, the Friends host programming, lectures, and tours of the Battlefield throughout the year.

The Friends of Monmouth Battlefield rely on memberships, fundraising, and countless volunteers to continue its mission. For more information on programs, special events, and exhibits hosted by the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield or to become a member or volunteer, please call 609-448-6355 or visit www.friendsofmonmouth.org.

If you are a member of a non-profit organization or know of one that you would like to see featured on this site, please let us know in the comments or send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Antique Items of the Week: 2/23/14 - 3/1/14

Antique Items of the Week!
Click on each link for the eBay page!
More items always going up.
Stay updated about new items on Facebook.

Direct Sale Items
If you have any questions, need additional photos, or are interested in any of the items below, please send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com. Payment via PayPal and all items will be shipped via regular U.S. mail.


1891 SOLD!

Late 1930s SOLD!

Book Sale:
His Sombre Rivals - 1883 with beautiful signature within dated '98 - $3
The Confessions of an English Opium Eater - 1913 - $3
The Pilgrims Progress - Probably early 1900s - $3
Musings on the Way - 1900 - $3
That Lass O'Lowries - 1914 - $3
Geography Primer - Printed 1906 - $8
Life and Works of Washington Irving - Late 1880s $20
Wee Winkles & Wideawake - Published 1905 - $5

Great Collectibles!

Rhone-Poulenc Set of 5 Collectible Mugs


Vintage Handmade Magazine Rack - About 21 inches long

MD Potatoes

Railroad Memorabilia Sale

Erie Railroad Time Table
August 17, 1947
Shipping: $1.25

Erie Railroad Time Table
June 24, 1944
Shipping: $1.25

Atlantic Coast Line Time Tables
The Standard Railroad of the South
January 1922
There is a tear in the one page (see third photo).
Pages are not stapled but show no evidence of a staple ever existing.
Shipping: $1.25

Lot of Ten Railroad Train Tickets
Two tickets from Sunday, Jan. 3 / One from Friday, Jul. 26 (no year) - Philadelphia Transit Co.
Three from Cumberland Division (all January, no year) - Philadelphia Transit Co.
One from NY State Railways, dated August 25, 1934
One from Erie Railroad Co., NY to Port Jervis, November 27, 1938
One from Erie Railroad Co., NY to Port Jervis, November 25, 1952
One from Erie Railroad Co., NY to Port Jervis, January 15, 1953
Shipping: $1.00

 Erie Railroad Company
6 unused "Telegraph Report of Automatic Block Signals"
Shipping: $2.75

25 Vintage Model Railroader & Model Railroad Craftsman Magazines
1963 & 1964
Pick-up only!

Vintage Fashion!

Vintage Strawbridge Hat - Deep Red

Vintage Women's Canadian Zephyr Ice Skates - Size 7
See more details on the History Girl Youtube page.
Email kelly@thehistorygirl.com if interested.

Vintage Men's Roller Skates - Size 10

If you are interested in any of these items, please e-mail kelly@thehistorygirl.com